For the vast majority of our patients, hands-on conservative care can help them put their spine pain in the past, but for some, the only answer to their discomfort is a surgical operation. If you’ve been told that you need surgery, you probably are wondering about the next steps in the process. Before you go under the knife, you’ll have a surgical consultation with the operating surgeon. We explain what to expect during that meeting in this blog.
Here’s what you can expect during your pre-surgical consultation for an upcoming spine surgery.
Reviewing Medical History – The surgeon will review your medical history prior to meeting with you for the surgical consultation, but they’ll also want to discuss your medical history with you in person before moving forward with the procedure. They’ll want to know about family histories, potential allergies and previous treatments and imaging techniques to get a comprehensive picture of your medical makeup. This is a great time to ask any questions you have about the procedure or your rehabilitation.
Physical Exam – Looking at data and imaging tests are helpful, but so too is a physical exam. Your surgeon will perform some simple movement or manipulation exercises to see the issue firsthand and to understand what actions cause discomfort or relief. They’ll also take some routine information, like blood pressure and heart rate.
Procedure Explanation – Once the surgeon has a good understanding of your medical history and condition, they’ll walk you through the operation and their expectations. Again, feel free to ask any questions that might come up during this time. The surgeon will also cover what they expect from you and how you can best prepare for the operation.
Next Steps – At the conclusion of the consultation, your surgeon will take the time to talk to you about the next steps. This may involve ensuring you have clearance from the insurance company, scheduling your operation or how to prepare in the weeks and days leading up to your operation. You should not walk out of the consultation wondering what to do next. You should have a clear understanding of what’s expected of you and what you should be doing next. If you’re unsure, just ask!
If you have any questions about your upcoming back surgery, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Chang’s office. We’re here for you throughout the entire process.